How fast can a camel run, do you think? (Hint: The animal is not exactly Formula One, but is heading towards that direction. Slowly. Or not.)
The answer is, pretty fast, since they even have special races organised to decide who’s the fastest camel around. Welcome to Oman!
Camel racing, this ancient Omani activity, is a very popular sport in the Sultanate of Oman, as it is in other Gulf countries. The annual National Camel Races Festival in Oman draws many excited participants and thousands of spectators.
Camels compete at speeds of up to 64 kilometres per hour on purpose-built tracks. In order to become the next Schumachers, they are carefully bred and have to go on a special highly nutritious diet.
Camels truly are interesting creatures. There are two types of them: Bactrian camels, which have two bumps, and Dromedary camels with only one bump. The Bactrians live in the harsh desert and rock conditions in Central and East Asia. Their siblings the Dromedaries (picture above) aka Arabian camels are the ones that race in Oman.
But is there time to take a picture of a speeding camel, I wonder? I guess it has to be not the race winner then. Maybe the second best.
Camels have a special place in the traditional way of life in the Arab countries. They are friends and means of transportation, as well as food and entertainment.
Of all the camels in the world, most are domesticated, but some still run free in the wild. And one more interesting thing: when camels are thirsty, they are really thirsty: according to National Geographic, camels can drink up to 135 litres of water in just 13 minutes, if they feel like doing it.
Stay tuned for Destination Oman, Part Two: Muscat Festival.